Economies in Asia that gain revenue from tourism welcome Chinese tourists because of their valuable cash injection. For many distant tourist destinations, the growing Chinese tourism market knocking at their doors can be considered as an ideal opportunity; however, it is also important to consider its accompanying risks.
The risks are substantial because Chinese tourism can dominate the local industry. Because of the massive size of their population, Chinese tourists often represent about 50% of tourist arrivals in some countries and yet due to opaque decision making and track record of using tourism as a foreign policy, some countries are sceptical that Chinese tourism may control the industry.
In some of the developing neighbours of China, the tourism industry represents a much larger share of exports compared to developed countries. If China tries to disrupt tourism flow in developing nations, it can easily result into economic and political turmoil.
On the other hand, the more developed nations in the Southeast region are active in trying to diversify their tourism industry instead of simply allowing Chinese tourists to dominate the sector. The new government of Taiwan has launched its “New Southbound Policy” a step that reduces their dependence on Chinese tourists. So far, the policy seems to be successful with tourist arrivals in 2016 creating a new record in spite of the decrease of arrivals from China.
South Korea which is at crosshairs with China when it comes to tourism and culture exports has started to roll out a more diversified tourism strategy. Hong Kong which is the favourite destination of Chinese tourists is also promoting in other markets beyond China.
China on the other hand is using its outbound tourists to substantially leverage on negotiations with other countries. China’s displeasure with Taiwan’s new government has quickly led to limitations in the number of Chinese group tours.
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